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Partnerships for enhanced engagement in research (PEER) SCIENCE
Cycle 2 (2012 Deadline)

Mycota associated to native Hevea spp. in the Brazilian Amazon region

PI: Aristóteles Góes-Neto (Centro de Excelência em Bioinformática, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz--Fiocruz)
U.S. Partner: Priscila Chaverri (University of Maryland, College Park)
Project Dates: August 2013 to July 2015
This project expects to characterize the mycota associated to the socially important and economically valuable rubber trees in the Brazilian Amazon region. The project will focus on characterizing endophytic and saprophytic fungi that naturally occur in Brazil and compare to fungal diversity in another region of Amazon basin, the Peruvian Amazon region. The idea is to corroborate the hypothesis that suggest that fungal endophytes have coevolved with their host plants to protect them from natural enemies.
The endophytic fungi associated to native rubber trees occurring in the Brazilian Amazon region can be utilized in biological control of Microcyclus ulei, the agent of South American leaf blight which is the scourge rubber trees. This project can add more aggregated value to this important tree of Amazonian forests, reinforcing the necessity of avoiding the potential loss of useful biodiversity due to deforestation and expansion of agricultural and livestock breeding frontier in the Brazilian Amazon region.
Summary of Recent Activities
Dr. Aristóteles Góes-Neto and his colleagues took an initial sampling trip to Anavilhanas National Park February 17-21, 2014, to begin building the culture collection bank and the genomic DNA bank for the project. Five visually healthy leaves were collected from each of five selected trees in the Hevea braziliensis species. A total of 310 fungal endophyte isolates were obtained after the leaves were segmented, plated, and incubated. The team will be identifying these isolates by sequencing the ITS regions of the rRNA gene (fungal DNA barcode region) using the primers ITS4 and ITS5. The resulting sequences will be forwarded to the Brazilian Barcode of Life Program. Additional field trips to the National Forest of Tapajós are planned for April through September 2014. At last report in April, the Brazilian Ministry of Science was still reviewing the applications of the U.S. partners to participate in the field collection activities.
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